Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

Kombucha? Again?

kombuchaI’m back to square one with the great Weight Loss journey. Well, that’s not quite true – I’m 10 pounds lighter than when I started, but I’ve regained 7 from my lowest point.

So. Starting again. Measuring and recording every bite of food. Making a new batch of kombucha. Exercising. Meditating.

Plus a new idea: I’m wearing my jeans, because their *tightness* will remind me to eat less. I tend to wear leggings, yoga pants, jammie pants, and other clothing with very forgiving material. Wearing clothes with less stretch has been reputed to help with weight loss, and I’m willing to give it a try.

I’ve mentioned kombucha over and over, and I thought I’d talk a bit more about it. Technically, kombucha is a fermented tea. It’s been around for centuries, originating in China, then spreading to Russia and beyond.

It’s made from sweetened tea (black, green or other) fermented with a bacteria/yeast culture. There are few scientific studies regarding its efficacy, but it’s rich in probiotics, antioxidants, glucaric acids and glucosamine. That means it can reasonably be assumed to balance gut PH, have detoxifying effects, boost the immune system and be good for joints.

From personal experience, I can say that it results in a drastically reduced appetite and greatly increased energy. Perhaps it’s a placebo effect. That’s OK. The placebo effect is a ‘thing’, and it shows how much health can be influenced by thought.

Kombucha is fairly safe to make at home because the high acidity keeps bad germs away. If the acidity is weak, mold can grow (as happened to me) and then it’s time to ditch the whole thing and start fresh. I got my new starter from the local health food store. Brewing supply stores often carry it, too. You can also get it from Amazon:  kombucha starter kit

Some websites warn against drinking it because illness can result if it’s not prepared properly. I think that’s a little excessive. Botulism can result if vegetables are canned improperly, but I see no medical sites warning us away from eating veges.

The point is that I need to do it properly. It’s easy – I keep my prep space spanky clean. I think my kombucha molded because I skimped on the sugar, so I will follow the recipe exactly from now on. And I will enjoy the benefits!

 

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Hodge Podge

Today’s post is a hodgepodge of unrelated bits I’ve been meaning to share for a couple of weeks now. Short and sweet – here they are!

No retouching

No retouching

1) Remember the frown remedy I shared earlier? I thought you’d like to see the update. Honey & sports tape really works!

Time to remove some SCOBY! Anyone need starter?

Time to remove some SCOBY! Anyone need starter?

2) Kombucha’s made ALL the difference for me. I have noticeably more energy, and noticeably less appetite. Everything I’ve read states its chock-full of probiotics, and it’s ridiculously easy to make! I don’t know if it’s responsible for the redistribution of weight that I’ve been experiencing (tummy and hips are shrinking, while weight remains fairly static), but I’m not messing with a good thing. Love me some kombucha! Get Kombucha starter HERE (cheap!) Also, I highly recommend Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. He explains how to make kombucha and MANY other fermented foods.

 

From my favorite boutique, http://twillclothing.com/

From my favorite boutique, http://twillclothing.com/

3) Sometimes bribes work.

This dress has hung in my bedroom since I purchased it two months ago. I knew it would look great on me once I lost a bit of weight, so I bought it, then put it where I would see it EVERY time I entered the room.

As you can see, it’s a summer dress, so if I was going to enjoy it this year, I needed to remain dedicated to my exercise and diet plan. Many times I wandered into the bedroom, forbidden food in my hand, saw the dress, and put the food away.

I’m pleased to announce that I wore the dress this weekend! I felt very pretty, though I still have some ‘redistributing’ to go before it looks PERFECT. Putting my *reward* where I could see it all the time was a good ploy for me.

Now we all know, Cherie can be bribed. 🙂

In my next post, I’ll be talking about the medical effects of obesity. It’s pretty sobering. As a woman approaching her third ‘time trimester’, I am oh-so-aware that how I treat my body NOW will hugely affect my future quality – and quantity – of life.

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Fermented Drinks and Spoiled Relationships

kombucha

Courtesy of Everyday Paleo. http://www.everydaypaleo.com

I promised I’d share recipes for kombucha and probiotic lemonade. They are both really easy!

I get great satisfaction from making my own healthy foods.  Hey, I get great satisfaction from making my own unhealthy foods. Truth is, I’ve had a love affair with my kitchen since age seventeen, when I moved into a tiny studio apartment in downtown Portland (on the third floor of a building, no elevator, with a shared bathroom down the hall.)

For the first time, I was free to explore the culinary arts. Growing up, my mother barely allowed me in the kitchen, except to clean. I certainly wasn’t allowed to cook. She was obsessed with the fear that I would ‘make a mess’. In fact, that was pretty much her focus for my entire childhood – that something (including me) might be dirty or disheveled.

Five years ago, I suddenly realized that my mom has obsessive-compulsive disorder. I mentioned it to my sister-in-law, who rolled her eyes and said, “Well, duh.” It wasn’t ‘duh’ to me. Until that ah-ha moment, it felt normal – just Mom being negative and unreasonable. My relationship with her has improved markedly since. I don’t take her actions and comments to heart. It’s not me, it’s her. And she can’t help it.

In fact, it’s helped my relationships with everyone. It’s not just my mom who can’t help it. We all can’t help it.  I find it much easier to be patient with people’s quirks, including my own.

I’m also more bold about withdrawing from those whose traits I find damaging. My no-go is people who back-stab, bully, yell and swear at others. No matter what wonderful qualities a friend or family member might also possess, hostile behavior is a relationship deal-killer. Bottom line: while I may love that person, I also love myself.

So I draw my boundaries. Explain them. Give multiple chances. If the objectionable behaviors continue, I withdraw. I understand that they can’t help themselves. I hope they understand that I can’t help myself, either. There are some things I just can’t tolerate. Call me quirky.

While bubbling, fermenting relationships might be bad, fermented drinks are good. (Smoothest segue you’ve ever seen, right?) I promised you recipes. Here are links:

KombuchaHow to Make Kombucha, by Katie of Wellness Mama. Try a beer brewing supply store for the SCOBY. That’s where I found my starter. Then prepare to share yours. That mother grows BIG!  Recerntly, I started a continuous brewing system. The how-to is here: Cultures for Health

Probiotic Lemonade:  Fresh, Natural, Healthy Lemonade, by Kristen of Food Renegade. Note: Because I don’t have a cup of whey on top of my yogurt, I just add some of the runny yogurt. It seems to work fine)

PS: Psychology Today recently had a great article about identifying and dealing with those who are difficult. You can read it here: The High Art of Handling Problem People.

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